The Last Story

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The Last Story
Last Story Box Art.jpg
European cover art
Developer(s) Mistwalker
AQ Interactive[1]
Publisher(s) Nintendo
Director(s) Hironobu Sakaguchi
Producer(s) Yutaka Takehisa
Hitoshi Yamagami
Takao Nakano
Artist(s) Kimihiko Fujisaka
Writer(s) Masaru Hatano
Hironobu Sakaguchi[1]
Takatoshi Aoki
Composer(s) Nobuo Uematsu[2]
Platform(s) Wii
Release date(s)
  • JP January 27, 2011
  • EU February 24, 2012
Genre(s) Action role-playing, Tactical role-playing, Stealth
Mode(s) Single-player, Multiplayer

The Last Story (ラストストーリー Rasuto Sutōrī?) is a third-person action role-playing game with stealth and strategy elements,[6] directed by Hironobu Sakaguchi and developed by Mistwalker and AQ Interactive for the Wii. It was published by Nintendo in Japan and Europe and by Xseed Games in North America, and is copyrighted by Nintendo. Set on the fictional Lazulis Island, the game story focuses on a group of mercenaries from a desolate continent as they seek work, discovering the world's slow destruction in the process. The game name and logo have been compared to the Final Fantasy series,[8] which was created by Mistwalker's head, Hironobu Sakaguchi, who previously held the post of executive producer for the Final Fantasy series.[9]

Gameplay[edit]

The game is controlled using either the Classic Controller, or with the Wii Remote and Nunchuk. Although it is a Wii-exclusive, it foregoes the use of IR aiming when using the Wii Remote, opting one instead to use the joystick on the Nunchuk for looking ("Seeking" in the game vernacular) and aiming the crossbow or to indicate targets for magical attacks.

The game includes unique abilities such as "Gathering", which allows Zael to draw the attention of enemies to buy time for his allies to cast spells while absorbing the damage of his enemies attacks to then send it back at them. "Focus" allows you to order allies to make long range attacks at specific targets and see the weaknesses of enemies. A sequence in the first trailer for the game shows an example of the focus ability being used to order Yurick to cast fire magic in order to destroy a bridge with enemies on it.[10] Pointers show which allies are being targeted at any given time.[11]

The game also features a cover system and over the shoulder viewpoint, while making use of rapid fire crossbows in a manner similar to third-person shooters.[12] In addition, the game also features real-time strategy elements, allowing the player to issue commands to other characters in real-time.[6][13] This includes directing allies, telling magic users to destroy bridges, stalagmites, columns or specific far away enemies, for example.[13] The game also features stealth elements, such as the abilities to "hide behind cover and pepper unsuspecting guards with arrows, luring them out on their own for a stealth attack, or pick off dangerous mages and healers from a distance"[6]

The game also contains 6-player cooperative and competitive online modes, where users either team up to face monsters or battle each other.[14] The game also features online multiplayer modes such as Suppression, where players team up to take on a boss for special rewards, and Fray, a player-versus-player battle royale team deathmatch mode which allows up to six players to fight each other using the character of their choice and even enemy monsters.[6][15]

Plot[edit]

Setting[edit]

The game takes place on Lazulis Island, governed by Count Arganan and located at the entrance of a harbor serving as the only entrance to a mountainous continent.[16] The continent is home to a large unnamed empire of humans which is decaying as the land of the continent dies, resulting in its resources becoming scarce and the terrain turning into petal shaped crystals that float around the world. Because of this, the empire is under internal conflict and bandits are constantly raiding small towns. To deal with this situation, the empire has decided to make Lazulis Island a bastion of prosperity and defense as well as the most important city of the empire, due to the island's land remaining fertile despite the widespread decay surrounding it. As a result of this, the island is ideal for people looking for a better life and has come to harbor the most advanced of the humans' technology. The island is well protected as the main entrance of the continent, courtesy of being armed with the Lazulis Cannon, the most powerful weapon in the world.

Many centuries before the story, the empire was also inhabited by a race known as the Gurak, a humanoid species bearing bestial features. However, the Gurak were banished by the empire when a war erupted between the two races because of the decaying of the land; although the Gurak were and still are more technologically advanced than the humans, they lost the war and were forced to go to an inhabitable volcanic continent on the far south, and have since disappeared.[citation needed]

The player controls a group of mercenaries, lead by Zael and Dagran, that have come to Lazulis Island from the desolate continent seeking work.[11] Despite the advanced technology present in both the human and Gurak societies, the production staff tried to limit science fiction elements in the game.[17]

Characters[edit]

  • Zael (エルザ Eruza?, Elza) – The main hero of The Last Story, Zael is a strong and agile swordsman who can unleash powerful Winds from his blade that can combine with his allies' magic spells to spread the magic over the battlefield and even generate Special attributes. At the beginning of the game he obtains a power known as Gathering that helps him to attract the attention of the enemy and protect his friends. He lost his family as a child and works as a mercenary to survive; while traveling the world as a teenager, he met Dagran who convinced him into becoming a mercenary along with him. When they arrive in Lazulis Island, he tells the gang he dreams of becoming a knight. But, they tease him for it. Voiced by Mamoru Miyano in Japanese and Jack Ryder in English.
  • Calista (カナン Kanan?, Kanan) – The main heroine of the game, skilled in the use of Holy magic for both defensive and offensive purposes. A mysterious girl who is of noble birth and the niece of Count Arganan. She is the sole heir to the house of Arganan, the ruling house of the island. She is being forced to marry Jirall, archduke of a local royal family. Although she dreams of leaving the castle and exploring the world, it is impossible due to her close supervision there. This is where Zael steps in. Voiced by Fumiko Orikasa in Japanese and Alix Wilton Regan in English.
  • Dagran (クォーク Kwōku?, Quark) – The leader of Zael's mercenary group who also negotiates their jobs. Skilled warrior specializing in defense. He is an excellent negotiator and a trusty companion that always looks for the good of the group. He is like an older brother to Zael as they have traveled together since their youth. Voiced by Unshō Ishizuka in Japanese and Nico Lennon in English.
  • Syrenne (セイレン Seiren?, Seiren) – The mood-maker of the group who fights with twin blades. She is a drinker, but is very considerate of her allies. A squad leader who enjoys fighting on the front lines. Voiced by Megumi Toyoguchi in Japanese and Kelly Wenham in English.
  • Yurick (ユーリス Yūrisu?, Yuris) – The youngest member of the group, but most skilled. A magician who uses Fire magic in combat. Treats mercenary work as a means of survival and doesn't talk much, being somewhat distant with everyone. He is afraid of ghosts. Voiced by Hiro Shimono in Japanese and Colin Ryan in English.
  • Lowell (ジャッカル Jakkaru?, Jackal) – A mage who can use both Ice magic and swords. He behaves in a flirtatious and easygoing manner but is actually a thinker who cares about his allies. He constantly teases Syrenne. Voiced by Keiji Fujiwara in Japanese and Derek Riddell in English.
  • Mirania (マナミア Manamia?, Manamia) – A healer who loves the forest and draws her powers from nature giving her strong healing and earth elemental magic. She is rather vacant, though known to eat the mealsworth of ten men. There appears to be a secret regarding her birth and her past is a total mystery. Voiced by Mamiko Noto in Japanese and Montserrat Lombard in English.
  • General Asthar (トリスタ将軍 Torisuta-shogun?, General Trista) – The former highest-ranking officer in the Imperial Army. He arrives to Lazulis Island to supervise the wedding of Calista and Jirall, he becomes an ally to Zael and the group; he has a good heart and doesn't doubt to help people as his duty as a knight Voiced by Fumihiko Tachiki in Japanese and Tom Goodman-Hill in English.
  • Therius (タシャ Tasha?, Tasha) – Skilled knight and pupil of General Ashtar. Does not think fondly of mercenaries such as Zael, but grows fond to them over time. He despises those knights that don't have honor and is a very distant character. Voiced by Hiroki Takahashi in Japanese and Daniel Curshen in English.
  • Count Arganan (アルガナン伯爵 Aruganan-hakushaku?, Count Arganan) – The current head of the Arganan family which rules over Lazulis Island. He's the most powerful person on the island and is both resourceful and ambitious. He gives employment to Zael and his mercenary crew. Voiced by Kōji Ishii in Japanese and Peter de Jersey in English.
  • Zangurak (ザングルグ Zangurugu?, Zangurg) – King of the Gurak race who are enemies of mankind, and the main villain. United the Guraks for the first time with his power and charisma. Plans to wage war against the humans. Voiced by Jōji Nakata in Japanese and Nick Boulton in English.

Story[edit]

The game begins with Zael, Dagran, and their group of mercenaries travelling to Lazulis City on Lazulis Island. Along the way, Zael hears a voice and has a mysterious encounter with a force that grants him a power known as the Gathering. As the group is approaching the city, a beast attacks and the mercenaries react by leading children to safety.

The mercenaries retire to Ariela's Tavern in the city, which becomes their de facto base of operations. The city is busy preparing for a royal wedding. When Zael leaves the pub on an errand, he discovers a young woman named Lisa hiding from guards. Zael helps Lisa escape her pursuers and brings her back to the pub. The two share a moment at Stargazer's Tower before Lisa leaves.[18]

The next morning, the mercenaries are summoned to Lazulis Castle, where they are to act as guards for Count Arganan for the upcoming royal wedding of Lady Calista to Lord Jirall. Shortly after arriving, Syrenne gets the mercenaries into a scuffle with Therius, but it is stopped by General Ashtar. As the mercenaries begin guard duty for a royal presentation, Zael realizes that "Lisa" is Lady Calista. He finds time to speak with her privately, and she explains that the marriage is arranged. Jirall interrupts the conversation, but is stopped when the Gurak attack the castle. Zael tries to stop the leader Zangurak from harming Calista, but he is knocked unconscious and she is taken.

Zael gives chase to Zangurak, but is defeated again. He is only able to harm the Gurak leader after Calista creates a mystical light around Zael. Zangurak flees with the Gurak when he hears that the Lazulis Cannon is to be fired on them. The mercenaries and Calista are unable to return, forcing them to jump overboard and commandeer a Gurak warship. After repairing the ship, the team heads for a Gurak base to find Zangurak where the Lazulis knights are also in pursuit. When they reach him, he makes an escapes along a secret path. Dagran pursues him as the rest of the team is busy fighting a beast. After defeating the beast, Dagran is found lying on the ground in the path. The team leaves with General Ashtar, but it is apparent that Calista does not want to return to that life. Zael wants Calista to join the mercenaries, but she stops him and says that she appreciate the kindness the group has to offer.

Arriving at the castle, Zael and the mercenaries are imprisoned under accusations from Jirall that they aided the Gurak. The team is thrown in the dungeon, where they assist the shop-keeper Horace who has been digging an escape route. In the tunnels, they do not make it outside, but they do find historical information. Returning to the cell, Zael learns that Dagran is speaking with the Count to get the charges dropped as he is brought to trial. Despite Jirall's devices, the Count gets Zael off by showing that he has the "Mark of the Outsider," which will save the island. Knowing that he has wished to be a knight, the Count tries to get Zael to align with him, even offering Lady Calista as a wife. Calista urges Zael to decline the offer, lest get wrapped up in the dangerous castle politics. Zael consults with the other mercenaries and accepts the Count's offer, questioning whether he has done the right thing.

After Zael swears allegiance to the Count, the mercenaries learn of that Lazulis Island is a sailing fortress. They proceed through a secret entrance to the castle underground, which leads to Zael to the same voice the gave him the Mark, asking for help. Zael steers the island toward the Gurak under protest from Calista and orders of the Count, but he is made to question his actions further after he is attacked by assassins and speaks with Therius. Zael later is accepted as Ashtar's pupil and given a medal, following a successful challenge. After resting, Zael and Therius go to get orders off Ashtar, but instead have to fend off another Gurak assault. Dagran and shortly after, Zael head to Ashtar who is protecting the cannon. Zael arrives to find the General dying, and with only enough time to explain that the medal is important and not to trust "him."

Accused of the murder of Ashtar, Zael is again imprisoned. Dagran says that he will prove his innocence, but before any resolution, Calista appears to bust out Zael and try to find evidence that Jirall killed the General. A letter and sword in Jirall's room implicate the Lord, but Dagran later reveals to Zael that he planted the evidence.

Meanwhile, the island arrives at the Gurak Castle and the mercenaries are to help with the attack. Zael and his team expects to encounter soldiers, but instead witnesses the knights ravaging women and children. Zael realizes that like the humans, the Gurak are coping with the dying land. With this weighing on his mind when he returns from the assault, he is not in a celebratory mood like most of the rest of Lazulis. A mysterious singing that apparently only he can hear leads him to the room where he got the Mark. Calista is there, and her blood reacts with the Mark and Ashtar's medal to reveal a secret location. Therius joins the couple and within the secret place, a Sorceress explains that the Outsider is an extraterrestrial world seed that was summoned to the planet. It was split, but must be joined and expelled to save the world.

With this news, Zael declines his knighthood and runs off with Calista to save the world. He wants to destroy the cannon to release the Outsider, but the Gurak attack with their own cannon based on stolen technology from the first attack. The Gurak's cannon opens a hole to the location of the Lazulis Outsider. The Count angers it to increase its power, manifesting a beast that Zael's team defeats. The Count tries to claim the power for himself, but is destroyed. The shots from the Lazulis Cannon eventually drain the island of power, leaving it open to a Gurak assault. As Therius holds off the Gurak, Zael's team helps the city's citizens who are hiding underground.

The mercenaries attempt to find Zangurak and the Gurak half of the Outsider in the Gurak fortress. When they defeat another beast created by this half of the Outsider, the island crumbles. Zael awakes alone on a vessel with Jirall, who Zangurak had given a possessed sword and sees Calista on another with Zangurak, Zael beats Jirall as the mercenaries arrive, and they proceed to find Calista and the other half of the Outsider. Following the beast that they saw when they first reached Lazulis Island, the team find a portal and proceed through. They manage to stop Zangurak and his minions at the cost of Lowell suffering grave injuries, but are surprised to find Dagran with the Outsider. Claiming the Outsider's power for himself, Dagran reveals that he has been manipulating the mercenaries for his own devices. Zael and his group defeat their corrupted former friend, who exhibits humanity by apologizing to Zael before dying and, as a final act from beyond the grave, uses the Outsider's power to heal Lowell. Returning to the Stargazer's Tower, Calista and Zael combine the halves of the Outsider and send it back to space. Later, Zael and Calista get married, and after that Zael is knighted by Calista before they head up to the Stargazer's once more to look at the stars in the sky.

Development[edit]

Hironobu Sakaguchi, head of Mistwalker, had been working on a new game which he revealed in June 2009.[19] He initially wanted to reveal the game by the end of 2009 but delayed the announcement to 2010 for unknown reasons.[20] Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata said that Nintendo's collaboration with Mistwalker is seeking "a new form of RPG by choosing the universal theme of human emotion".[21] There was some confusion on the Mistwalker official blog that Sakaguchi may retire after this game.[22] However, this was a translation error as Sakaguchi meant he was working on it as though he was working on his last game.[23]

The Last Story was developed by Sakaguchi's company Mistwalker, with the system and programming headed by Takuya Matsumoto from AQ Interactive.[1][24] Sakaguchi conceived the story and collaborated with Matsumoto on the game concept.[1][25][26]

Localization[edit]

Despite rumors of a Nintendo UK rep discussing a European localization,[27] the game was noticeably absent at E3 2011.[28] It was confirmed on June 26, 2011 by the product manager of the French branch of Nintendo, Ludovic Amouroux, that the game was indeed being localized for the European market for a release in 2012.[29] The game will also be released in Australia.[3] In North America, the fan-based localization movement, Operation Rainfall, encouraged Nintendo of America to localize the game, along with Wii titles Xenoblade Chronicles and Pandora's Tower.[30] In July 2011, Nintendo of America issued a trademark for The Last Story title.[31] During the Nintendo Direct broadcast on February 22, it was announced that the game will be released in North America in 2012. However, it was not published by Nintendo. Instead, the game was released by Xseed Games on August 14, 2012. Due to shipping issues in America, the game was released a few days after August 14 in certain states.[32]

Soundtrack[edit]

The music was composed and produced by Nobuo Uematsu. A 3-disc soundtrack was released on February 23, 2011 on Uematsu's Dog Ear Records label.[33] A promotional soundtrack titled "The Last Story Premium Soundtrack" was released with certain offers of the game in Japan.

On December 27, 2010, The Last Story was demonstrated for the first time at a Nintendo event.[34][35] During the event, the theme song of the game titled "Toberu Mono" was also revealed; "Toberu Mono" is composed by Nobuo Uematsu and is performed by Kanon.[36]

Reception[edit]

Reception
Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings 78.18%[38]
Metacritic 80%[37]
Review scores
Publication Score
Computer and Video Games 8.5 of 10[39]
Edge 8 of 10[38]
Electronic Gaming Monthly 7 of 10[37]
Eurogamer 9 of 10 (Germany)[42]
9 of 10 (Italy)[43]
9 of 10 (Sweden)[44]
8 of 10 (Portugal)[37]
7 of 10 (UK)[45]
Famitsu 38 of 40[40]
G4 3/5[41]
GameSpot 9 of 10[5]
IGN 8.5 of 10[6]
Nintendo Power 9 of 10[37]
Official Nintendo Magazine 86%[37]
Cubed3 9 of 10[46]
The Guardian 4/5 stars[47]
MeriStation 9/10[37]
Metro GameCentral 8/10[13]
Nintendo Gamer 85%[48]
Vandal Online 9.2/10[49]
XGN 9/10[50]
Bordersdown 8/10[51]
Awards
Publication Award
GameSpot Editors' Choice[5]

The Last Story has received generally positive reviews. The game received a score of 38/40 in Famitsu magazine, with two critics giving the game 10/10 and two giving the game 9/10.[40] The Last Story topped the Japanese charts, with 114,722 units in its first week – which also includes sales of a version that comes bundled with a Wii system.[52] By the end of 2011, the game had sold nearly 160,000 copies in Japan.[53] After the release of The Last Story in North America, Xseed Games's Executive Vice President Ken Berry stated that "The Last Story has become our most successful title to date."[54]

Edge gave the game a score of 8 out of 10 in their April 2011 issue.[38][55] Bordersdown gave it a score of 8 out of 10, praising the story, system, and voice acting, while noting its simplicity.[51] XGN gave the game a score of 9 out of 10, stating, "Mistwalker once again delivers an interesting and deep role-playing game that also manages to innovate the RPG-genre in some aspects. A convincing story, combined with a unique combat system and a great audiovisual presentation, makes The Last Story a must-have game for anyone who has a special place in their heart for special RPG's."[50] Official Nintendo Magazine gave the game an 86% score, describing it as a "brash, engaging tale of swords, sorcery and every sort of hair dye." MeriStation gave the game a score of 9 out of 10, stating that "Sakaguchi knows how to make great JRPGs. The Last Story is a memorable and magical work. The combat system is brilliant, it's fun, and Nobuo Uematsu's music helps you to remember the great games of the genre."[56] According to Metro GameCentral, which gave it an 8 out of 10, the "creator of Final Fantasy reinvents the Japanese role-player, with a game that mixes innovative action with likeable characters and even online co-op." The reviewer, Roger Hargreaves, described the cover system as one "that even many Western shooters would struggle to match," and praised the ability to "issue commands almost like a real-time strategy" and the "highly varied set pieces."[13]

IGN gave it an 8.5 out of 10, with reviewer Keza MacDonald describing it as "a gift to the Wii," stating that it "swirls the best of JRPG characterisation, presentation, customisation and storytelling together with third-person action combat and elements of stealth and real-time strategy." She praised the "superb" British localisation and stated that it has "one of the best combat systems I've played with in any RPG, Japanese or otherwise," with an online deathmatch mode showing "just how strong the combat mechanics are" as there "aren't many RPGs whose battle system would be enough on its own to support a feature like this."[6] GameSpot gave the game a score of 9 out of 10 and an Editors' Choice award, describing it as "a brilliant role-playing game that's as rich and emotionally affecting as the best in the genre." The reviewer Mark Walton concluded that it is "a fantastic game; one that pushes the JRPG genre forward in ways that are innovative yet still complementary to the tradition of the genre."[5] Game Informer's Joe Juba gave the game a lower score of 6/10, criticizing "the predictable tale" which "holds virtually no surprises or fresh angles," combat which "wasn’t adequately play-tested for fun or functionality," "sloppy" controls and "choppy framerate"; concluding that The Last Story "fail[ed] to meet the low bar set by dozens of middling entries in the genre."[57]

The Last Story was nominated for "Best Wii/Wii U Game" at the 2012 Spike Video Game Awards,[58] but ultimately lost out to New Super Mario Bros. U.

References[edit]

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External links[edit]